BLOGGER: Rachel Held Evans
BLOGGER: Rachel Held Evans

A blogger who spent one year following all of the Bible’s instructions for women, from making her own clothes to “submitting” to her husband, has now written a book about her experience.

Rachel Held Evans’s book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, chronicles her 12-month attempt to obey the Bible’s commandments for women.

The Bible gives hundreds of explicit and implied rules for women to follow, in the Old Testament and the New.

For example, women should dress modestly, submit to their husbands – passages insist that husbands are the masters of their wives – and remove themselves from their communities while menstruating.

Leviticus chapters 15 to 18 detail rules for Jewish women to live by – with particularly stringent rules coming into play while the woman is menstruating, stemming from the theory that women on their periods were untouchable.

During the days she was menstruating over the course of the year, the Tennessee-based writer, 31, a Christian who describes herself as “liberated”, stayed home from church, carried around a seat cushion to avoid sitting on chairs outside her home, abstained from sex and touching her husband, grew her hair out and slept in a tent.

Evans’s project-turned-book examines all the Bible’s instructions for women as precisely as possible, taking on powerful theological questions, gender issues, and the possible future of the Church.

Evans also writes a namesake blog that draws thousands of evangelical readers. She launched it in 2008 to promote her first book, a memoir that tiptoed around faith and fundamentalism.

Her yet-to-be-released book has already gained a following, with nearly 100 000 readers visiting her blog monthly.

However, despite the book’s popularity, she has revealed that one of the biggest Christian bookstore chains in the country, LifeWay, has chosen not to carry the book because of its use of the word “vagina”.

When Evans mentioned on her blog that her editor suggested she remove the word from the book’s manuscript to appease the bookstore, readers were outraged.

A petition on Amazon called Put-the-word-”vagina”-back-into Rachel’s-book! was started, and one fan made Team Vagina T-shirts.

She told Slate: “Writers adjust our content to fit this very sanitised, very strict conservative mould, which means we’re not producing the best writing…

“Everyone bends over backward to meet these demands.”

But with such a large show of public support, Evans decided to leave the word vagina in her book and face the consequences. – Daily Mail